Maximizing the power of the sun with remote monitoring & control technology

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Case study: Odyssey and OEMs

Client: AutarcTech, Umstro

Eliminating diesel generators with fully autonomous, renewable energy systems

One of wind and solar’s biggest challenges has always been: what to do when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing? Traditionally, distributed renewable energy systems (DRE) have relied on backup carbon-intensive diesel generators to fill in the gaps. AutarcTech and UMSTRO are tackling this challenge with green hydrogen technologies (fuel-cells, electrolyzers,  lithium batteries and solar energy). As you can imagine, these systems require many component parts that need to be in balance with each other, which is where Odyssey’s monitoring and control systems come in.

Quick stats on partnership:

Clients: AutarcTech, UMSTRO

Country: Germany, with systems deployed worldwide

Types of business: OEMs, AutarcTech specializes in extremely efficient batteries, UMSTRO specializes in innovative storage solutions including green hydrogen

Odyssey technologies deployed: FernFlex Controller

Type of assets managed: Containerized power solution, including Solar system, fuel-cell, hydrogen storage, electrolyzers, water purification, lithium-iron batteries.

The challenge:

UMSTRO and AutarcTech work closely to be at the forefront of autonomous renewable energy technology, building combined green hydrogen systems (fuel-cell, electrolyzer, lithium batteries, solar systems). These combined fuel-cell electrolyzers separate hydrogen from oxygen on the same site as solar panels and batteries. When the sun is shining, batteries are charged and hydrogen is generated through the electrolyzer. When the sun doesn’t shine, the hydrogen that was made previously can be used to generate electricity through the fuel-cell to keep the power going.

The challenge is how the various component parts (electrolyzer, fuel cell, batteries, inverters) “talk” to each other. For example, how will the system know to create hydrogen when there is excess power coming through the panels or to then use generated hydrogen to charge the batteries if the sun doesn’t come out?

The solution:

Odyssey’s Fernflex Controller allows for this type of dialogue between UMSTRO system components and AutarcTech components. In this case, the systems need to be able to remotely monitor lithium batteries down to the cell level while integrating the active balancing technology of the AutarcTech storage and power system. Additionally, solar production and electrolyzers need to be monitored. Not only does the Fernflex Controller allow for this monitoring but, based on customizable control algorithms, system owners can remotely control how the system reacts. For example, if the battery is charged to 70% by the solar panels, the Fernflex Controller will tell the system to run the electrolyzer to start creating hydrogen. Similarly, if the battery’s charge dips below 30%, the Fernflex Controller will tell the system to use the fuel cells to charge the batteries.

The results:

The result of UMSTRO + AutarcTech + Odyssey technologies are fully autonomous systems that have continuous power with no additional energy required, even when it rains for days. So far, UMSTRO and AutarcTech have deployed three of these systems, one as an energy trailer, the second to a German University and the third to a commercial manufacturing company in South Africa. And there are more to come in the near future.

“We had a huge  challenge on our hands trying to integrate  several energy resources – a windmill, a photovoltaic and a fuel cell with completely different types of assets like electrolysers, lab equipment and heating systems. Additionally, we needed to integrate safety systems and several sensors – all with different protocols. With the FernFlex Controller and the support by Odyssey regarding the integration and logic programming, we have a reliable and committed partner who is able to handle these topics and also supplies a dashboard for monitoring everything - exactly what we need.”  - Matthias Bäuerle , CEO, AutarcTech

About Umstro:

UMSTRO designs and builds hydrogen fuel systems in different sizes – from mobile applications like an energy trailer up to full systems for industrial buildings and multi-family homes. The systems integrate photovoltaic and wind turbines to generate green hydrogen that can be used to operate a fuel cell in a dark lull. In combination with a heat pump system these energy cells operate with a very good efficiency.

About AutarcTech:

AutarcTech is a battery manufacturer and solutions provider specializing in efficient battery lithium storage systems based on active balancing – ensuring that no energy is wasted inside the battery. AutarcTech’s battery systems increase the efficiency of Photovoltaic systems, wind turbines, local energy grids and even diesel generators where necessary.

About Odyssey

Odyssey is the leading remote monitoring and control platform for renewable energy companies and manufacturers globally. We have deployed 1500+ systems across 30+ countries to monitor diverse assets – from commercial & industrial applications to mini-grids to water purification, health-centers, telecom infrastructure and custom solutions for component manufacturers – helping customers achieve scale while saving time and money.

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See what Odyssey can do for  you.